Posted by: anna | December 2, 2009

St Ermenburga of Thanet

I think it is worth mentioning today a saint not commemorated in the Russian calendar, but whose feast falls today (Nov 19, that is) in the Roman and old English calendars – Ermenburga, foundress of the monastery at Thanet. In fact, she has been mentioned here before in connection with several other saints in her immediate family. [celt-saints] comes through again:

‘St. Ermenburga of Thanet, Widow (Ebba, Eormenburh, Domneva) Died c. 650-700. Saint Ermenburga was a Kentish princess of distinguished lineage. Her father was Ermenred, the brother of King Erconbert of Kent. She married Merewald, said to be the son of King Penda of Mercia, by whom she bore four children, including Saints Mildred (f.d. July 13), Milburga (f.d. February 23); eldest of the three girls), and Mildgith (f.d. January 17; youngest daughter), and Merefin, who died in his youth. Ermenburga’s own siblings included Saints Ethelred and Ethelbert (f.d. October 17).

When they were cruelly murdered at Eastry near Sandwich by Egbert’s counsellor Thunor, their sister received the “wergild” in the form of land at Kent. In her old age Ermenburga used this land to found the convent of Minster on Thanet, where the place name Ebbsfleet still perpetuates her memory. She became its abbess about 670 and was succeeded by her daughter Mildred, who had been trained at Chelles in France. Domneva is a contraction of Domna Ebba (Lady Ebba).’

One of the two Anglican ‘flying bishops’ (bishops without a geographical see, who minister to those parishes who have signed up to the ABC resolutions against having women priests) is the Bishop of Ebbsfleet. How can a church call itself one, in which some of the people refuse to acknowledge some of the priests? Holy women of Thanet, pray for the Church of England.


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